Kitchener-Waterloo

3,000 Waterloo Region teens receive suspension orders from public health

More than 3,000 high school students in Waterloo Region could be suspended from school on May 11, because they haven't updated their immunization records with the region's public health department.

Students have three weeks to submit updated immunization records

Public health will send home 3,046 suspension orders with high school students who have not updated their immunization records. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

More than 3,000 high school students in Waterloo Region could be suspended from school on May 11, because they haven't updated their immunization records with the region's public health department. 

Public health delivered 3,046 suspension orders on Monday, giving students three weeks to submit the required information before the order takes effect.

"It's almost too late on May 11," said Linda Black, manager of public health's vaccine preventable disease program. "May 10—if you come to us, if you submit information, then we can make sure your child isn't suspended on May 11, provided that you come before 4:30 p.m."

The current number of students without up-to-date records is only a fraction of those who were sent warning letters earlier this year. Black said public health mailed out 9,258 notices to secondary students in late 2015.

"Over the course of the last few months we've been fielding calls and getting people immunized and what's left is that 3,046 records still outstanding," she said.

Increase in orders

The last time public health issued suspension orders was in 2014, when 1,770 orders were sent home.

Black said the increase in orders is due, in part, to the introduction of a new record system, which prevented public health from penalizing students in 2015.

High school students who do not update their immunization records before the deadline will be suspended for 20 days, or until the required information is submitted.

Students and parents with questions are encouraged to call public health or attend one of the department's walk-in vaccination clinics. 

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